Hassanen Murder Suspect Court Date Set — A preliminary hearing has been set for Friday, Oct. 13, for the prosecution of Darwin Martinez Torres. Torres is accused of attacking, abducting and killing Nabra Hassanen in the early morning hours of June 18. [Connection Newspapers]
Libertarian Leaders Speaking in Reston — The Young Americans for Liberty conference, taking place today through Saturday at the Sheraton Reston Hotel, will feature more than 40 speakers sharing Libertarian values. Among them will be Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Judge Andrew Napolitano. [Young Americans for Liberty]
Changes Made to WMATA Board — The Trump Administration is replacing a pair of safety specialists, who were appointed by President Obama’s transportation secretary, with a pair of finance and budget bureaucrats who worked in the Bush Administration. [WAMU]
Work Being Done on Reston Station Staircase — The stairs from Reston Station Boulevard to the Wiehle-Reston East plaza are closed for repairs, which include new tiles on the landings and improvements to the drainage system. [Fairfax Connector]
Nearly $60M in County’s Carryover Budget — The county executive recommends the funds be used in part to fund reserves and infrastructure needs, along with other projects including the demolition of the Massey Building. [Fairfax County]
Supreme Court Ruling Leads to Changes in Sign Zoning — After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “content-based” regulations on signs do not meet the strict scrutiny test required by the First Amendment to protect free speech, the County must re-examine its zoning rules regarding messages on signs. [Fairfax County]
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at their meeting Tuesday morning marked up the proposed FY2018 budget, and the current real estate tax rate remains.
Upon approval of the budget, the real estate tax rate will remain at the FY 2017 level of $1.13 per $100 of the assessed value of the home, as proposed by the county executive. (The average Reston real estate assessment has gone down by 0.33 percent in 2017.) Board chairman Sharon Bulova said the stable rate “ensure[s] Fairfax County continues to be an affordable place to live for seniors and families.”
At the board’s Feb. 28 meeting, Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (Hunter Mill District) supported an amendment that would have raised the advertised real estate tax rate to $1.15 per $100. The amendment, introduced by Supervisor Kathy Smith (Sully District), failed by a vote of 7-3, with Supervisor Daniel Storck (Mount Vernon District) casting the third vote in favor.
Changes in the marked-up $4.1 billion budget include:
- an additional $1.7 million in funding for Fairfax County Public Schools above the amount in the county executive’s proposed budget, for a total transfer of $2.17 billion (52.8 percent of the budget)
- just under $2 million and 18 new positions to support the second year of the county’s Diversion First initiative, which helps divert individuals with mental illness from jail into mental health treatment
- more than $13 million in reductions and nine position eliminations, resulting from agency reductions and continued savings in fuel and retiree health expenses
The marked-up budget was approved by an 8-2 vote of the Board, with Smith and Storck dissenting.
The board is expected to officially approve the budget May 2, and it will go into effect July 1.
Rain, Rain Go Away — Rain that is expected to inundate the area through Friday is forecast to vacate later tonight. Saturday looks to be dry but cloudy, with sun coming back Sunday. Temperatures in the 50s and 60s will make for a nice weekend. [Capital Weather Gang]
RA Election Ends Monday — There are only a few days left to get your ballot in for the Reston Association Board of Directors election. Voting can be done online through RA’s website. Winners will be announced at the annual members’ meeting April 11. [Reston Association]
Submit a Video to Fairfax County Board — In what it says is an attempt to increase the amount of public participation in hearings, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is encouraging residents to submit pre-recorded comments via YouTube. The video-submission program will first be used for the county’s public budget hearings April 5-6. [Fairfax County]
Local Student Presents at Alabama Conference — Christine Roesch, of Reston, was one of 500 University of Alabama undergraduate students who were selected to showcase their research and creative projects during the school’s annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Conference earlier this week. Her project was titled “The Layout of Grass and a Trip to Starbucks Can Influence Which Way You Walk to Class.” According to her Facebook page, Roesch is a psychology major with a criminal justice minor. [University of Alabama]
The Fairfax County Planning Department will hear presentations Thursday on the advertised FY 2018-2022 Capital Improvement Program, with a number of Reston projects on the list.
The largest local project in the plan is the reconfiguration and redevelopment of Reston Town Center North, which includes replacing and redeveloping the North County Human Services Center, as well as the Reston Regional Library and Embry Rucker Shelter. An indoor recreation center is also expected to be part of the project.
From the plan:
Reston Town Center North (Infrastructure and Blocks 7 & 8) (Hunter Mill District): Approximately $76,000,000 is proposed to rezone and develop the overall master plan that reconfigures and provides integrated redevelopment of approximately 50 acres currently owned by Fairfax County and Inova at Reston Town Center North (south of Baron Cameron Avenue between Town Center Parkway and Fountain Drive), including the replacement of Reston Regional Library, Embry Rucker Shelter, currently on this site, and development of additional facilities to accommodate Human Services needs. The plan maximizes the development potential consistent with the needs of the community and in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan Amendment approved in February 2013.
North County Human Services Center (Hunter Mill District): $125,000,000 to fund a replacement facility for the existing North County Human Services Center located in Reston. The existing facility is within the redevelopment master plan area known as Reston Town Center North which will be reconfigured for an integrated redevelopment consistent with the needs of the community and in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan Amendment approved in February 2013. The proposed North County Human Services Center will also support a consolidation of existing leased facility spaces in the service area into one Human Services site to provide enhanced and integrated multidisciplinary services to residents in the western part of the County.
The 47-acre area is bounded by Baron Cameron Avenue, Fountain Drive, Town Center Parkway and Bowman Towne Drive.
The projects are expected to be paid for by Economic Development Authority bond financing, according to the report. Approximately $10 million will be required in FY2018 to fund the county’s share of the agreement with Inova that will provide for the real estate exchange, as well as design and construction of the campus site infrastructure.
Funding of $12,000,000 was approved as part of the fall 2016 Human Services/Community Development Bond Referendum for the shelter, and $10,000,000 was approved as part of the 2012 Library Bond Referendum for the library.
Also among the five-year plan are the continuation of current plans including the Silver Line expansion, the redevelopment of the Crescent Apartments site at Lake Anne, upgrades to Reston and Fox Mill fire stations, the addition to South Lakes High School, and improvements to Reston Community Center and the natatorium.
The workshop and public hearing on the Capital Improvement Plan will be held Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center.
Reston Town Center North map (2015) via Fairfax County
Local Meeting on County Budget is Saturday — Residents of the Hunter Mill District will have their chance to weigh in on the proposed Fairfax County FY2018 budget from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Frying Pan Farm Park visitor center. [Reston Now]
‘Monsters’ to Be on Stage at Herndon HS — The Herndon High School Drama Boosters will present “From the Mouths of Monsters,” a Kennedy Center Production inspired by Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” March 17-19. [Herndon High School Theatre]
Wolf Trap Summer Lineup Features Big Names — Aretha Franklin, Elvis Costello, John Mellencamp and Sheryl Crow are just a few of the many top acts who will perform this year at Wolf Trap. Mary J. Blige will kick off the summer season with a show May 25, followed two days later by Fifth Harmony. [Wolf Trap]
Reston Association Elections About to Begin — Ballots can be cast starting Monday in this year’s Reston Association Board of Directors election. Eleven candidates in total are vying for four seats on the nine-member board. No incumbents are running. [Reston Association]
Girl Scout to Help Repair Bridge — Sathiya Kannan of Reston plans to work on a bridge on Alexandria’s Mount Vernon Trail as a Silver Award Project. She will be part of a team of National Park Service volunteers on March 25. Additional help is sought. [Connection Newspapers]
Questions on County Budget Proposal Being Accepted — County Executive Ed Long will participate in an online discussion about his proposed FY 2018 budget at 3 p.m. Friday. Residents are being invited to submit questions in advance. [Fairfax County]
Reston Woman Named Humanitarian Group’s Director — Cecilia Capece (pictured) is the new executive director of the INMED Opportunity Center. According to a press release, her role with the Sterling-based organization will be to “focus on developing partnerships to expand INMED’s ability to serve low-income communities in Loudoun County to protect children from the immediate and irreversible harm of abuse, neglect, violence, homelessness and instability and to equip them for self-sufficiency and success.” [INMED Opportunity Center]
Herndon Reston Softball Seeks Players, Coaches, Umps — The girls’ fast-pitch softball league season begins March 3-4 with player tryouts and evaluations. Practices start in mid-March, and opening day is April 1. [Herndon Reston Youth Softball]
The Fairfax County Executive’s new budget removes funding for youth with intellectual disabilities leaving Fairfax County Public Schools in 2017.
The people of Fairfax County are not that uncaring. You are not that selfish. I know because I have seen how amazing you are. But the County’s budget introduced Tuesday cut all funding for the youth with intellectual disabilities who will be leaving the school system this year.
The state has a program called the Medicaid Waiver, which provides support to Virginia individuals with developmental disabilities, enabling them to live and thrive in our community. But there are over 11,000 Virginians on the wait list for those services. My daughter, Beth, who has Down syndrome, has been on that wait list for years.
Because Fairfax County is a caring community, for years and years the Board has chosen to provide some support to those waiting for the waiver so that they can continue to be active after leaving FCPS. Each year, a new group of students graduates, and the county has realized that FCPS has invested and believed in them and we shouldn’t now abandon them to the sofa. The County has provided some support so these young people can continue to stay active, safe and, hopefully, find employment in the community.
This year, my daughter Beth leaves FCPS. Tuesday, we were heartsick to be told the County Executive did not think she or her graduating classmates were important enough to make the budget. But I know this is not true of our community.
Beth was born here and has always lived here. She was included in Terraset Elementary, Langston Hughes Middle, and South Lakes High School — with the support of amazing teachers and classmates. She was in a Reston Girl Scout Troop for over 10 years, earning her Gold Award — with the support of leaders and community members. She was on the SLHS Swim Team for four years and the Glade Gators for 13 through the support of cheering coaches, parents and friends. She was a part of a wonderfully inclusive SLHS Choral Program with Ms. G, and Dance Program with Ms. Girdy. She was “Defying Gravity” as she danced at Broadway Night. She was twice SLHS Homecoming Princess.
All along the way, the Reston community has supported her. She could have done none of it alone.
So I know that Fairfax County is a caring community. Can you please let the County Executive Ed Long (703-324-2531) know that we are? More importantly, please let the Board of Supervisors know that the budget must include support for these young adults as it has in the past.
Beth has spoken to Supervisor Cathy Hudgins. We know that she cares. Let her and the other supervisors know that we value these young people with intellectual disabilities and will support them.
Mary Nell Clark
Residents of the Hunter Mill District will have their chance on March 4 to weigh in on the proposed Fairfax County FY2018 budget.
County Executive Edward Long presented the $4.1 billion proposal to the county Board of Supervisors at their Tuesday meeting. Each supervisor is holding local meetings to get community input on its details.
Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins will hold her summit Saturday, March 4 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Frying Pan Farm Park visitor center (2739 West Ox Road, Herndon). In addition to the budget presentation and a speaker, the event will also include a “build-a-budget” workshop that Hudgins said would help residents understand what has to be done with the funds available.
In her response to Long’s proposal to the board Tuesday, Hudgins said the state has made it difficult for Fairfax County to “control [its] own destiny.”
“It is troubling when we have to return our value to the state in the way that we do,” Hudgins said. “When you think about that, it is daunting to have our citizens look to us and think that we actually do control it, and we don’t.”
Hudgins said a lack of diversity of revenue for the county, caused by an “inability to break through the stronghold that is in the general assembly,” is forcing some residents to be priced out.
“The cost of living here, it does increase, and many of those seniors that I talked with at a senior group [Monday] are saying, ‘I have to move if I want to stay in a place that is affordable for me,'” she said. “We are going to have a lot of discussion from people on that conversation.”
Following their community meetings, supervisors plan to present their changes to the executive’s recommendations on April 25. The budget is scheduled to be adopted May 2.
Hudgins will be joined at the March 4 budget session by Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova and Vienna Mayor Laurie DiRocco. Residents interested in attending are asked to RSVP to [email protected].
Replacement of the Embry Rucker Community Shelter and several Reston-area fire stations are on Fairfax County’s list of projects to tackle in the five-year advertised Capital Improvement Program.
County Executive Ed Long recently released the CIP to show the county’s priorities during the next budget cycle and enable the county to plan for the future.
Long has proposed a $3.8 billion overall advertised budget, with $22.04 million from the general fund going to support capital improvements. Tens of millions more will come from bond referendums in the future.
Long says county staff is “currently working to prioritize all county projects to develop specific recommendations for the next two county referenda scheduled for fall 2016 (FY 2017) and fall 2018 (FY 2019). An amount between $200 and $250 million is included in the CIP for planning purposes.
Meanwhile, Long has also predicted a budget gap of more than $90 million as the county gets ready to plan for 2017. The real estate tax rate in the county will stay the same as in 2014 — $1.09 per $100 of assessed value.
“We have turned over every rock for cost-saving opportunities,” he wrote in the introduction to the CIP.
There will be public hearings on the budget in general on April 7 (4 p.m.), 8 and 9 (both 1 p.m.) at the Fairfax County Government Center. The budget markup will happen on April 21, and the Board of Supervisors will vote on it on April 28.
Meanwhile, here are the Reston-area projects mentioned in the Capital Improvement Program through 2020:
Reston Town Center North: This project currently includes $700,000 to develop an overall master plan that reconfigures and provides integrated redevelopment of various Fairfax County and Inova properties at Reston Town Center North (south of Baron Cameron Avenue between Town Center Parkway and Fountain Drive).
Three facilities impacted by the redevelopment are the Reston Library, the Embry Rucker Shelter, and the North County Human Services Center. Fairfax County plans to solicit an initial Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure (PPEA) for two County-owned parcels, known as Blocks 7 and 8, on which the library and shelter are currently located. The County will solicit a future PPEA for the remaining parcels, including the parcel containing the North County Human Services Center, after a Development Agreement is signed by Fairfax County and Inova.
The entire project is expected to cost $20 million.
South Lakes High School: $14,650,406 for capacity enhancements. Construction funds are unfunded.
Herndon High School: $102,139,918 for the renovation of this facility. Construction funds are unfunded.
Synthetic Turf Maintenance: Funding in the amount of $6,735,338 has been included for the countywide athletic field maintenance and sports program in FY 2016. This level of funding is supported by an increased General Fund transfer.
Reston Community Center Improvements: $647,000 is required for the replacement of the RCC backstage HVAC unit, replacement of the CenterStage theatre roof sections, replacement of the Hunters Woods front building area, and replacement of light fixtures. (more…)